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NATO chief would 'eat tie' over Russia drone claim: spokesman

A Mig-29.
by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) April 30, 2008
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has offered to eat his tie if Russia can prove that an alliance war plane recently shot down a Georgian drone, his spokesman said Wednesday.

"The secretary general said that he would eat his tie if it turned out that a NATO Mig-29 had magically appeared in Abkhazia and shot down a Georgian drone," spokesman James Appathurai told reporters in Brussels.

Georgia's pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili has accused Russia of destroying on April 20 a Georgian spy plane over its breakaway territory of Abkhazia, which has Moscow's backing.

NATO ambassadors have called for an international inquiry into the incident.

The spokesman said that Russia's ambassador Dmitry Rogozin, in talks with Scheffer Tuesday, "had pointed out that NATO countries also fly MiG-29s and implied that a NATO plane had shot down the drone."

Appathurai said that Russia had continued to changed tack on the incident, first denying that it had happened, then blaming it on rebels in Abkhazia.

"I'm looking forward to opening my paper every day to see the latest version of this story," he said.

In any case, he added, "there is no danger of the secretary general getting indigestion in the near future."

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Become More Sophisticated
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Apr 30, 2008
An Israeli-made Hermes-450 unmanned aerial vehicle owned by Georgia was shot down over Abkhazia on April 21, aggravating regional tensions. While politicians try to sort the issue out, it is easy to forget the technical aspects of the problem, but they deserve some attention.

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